A NEW hit squad is set to crackdown on illegal breeding factories across NSW in an effort to improve animal welfare standards.
The action comes in response to a recent push against intensive puppy breeding with a Wagga property raided in September by the RSPCA on the grounds of animal cruelty allegations.
A Wagga veterinarian welcomed the action, hoping to see people's views of companion animals switch from being a right to a privilege.
Kiri Westphalen, who practices at Kooringal Veterinary Hospital, added that she would be glad to see an end to the results of bad breeding.
"It's certainly decreased over the last few years, but our clinic works with council so we do see litters coming through that are neglected and in a horrible condition," she said.
"This crackdown is absolutely a good thing if it means we see less of that neglect."
Dr Westphalen said improved breeding conditions would also help show the community that pets are to be loved and appreciated.
"Companion animals are not a commodity," she said.
"Yes, they will still have puppies, pets play an important role in our lives, but as soon as you stop breeding for a commodity and forcing out litter upon litter, that's when you start to see the animals having a better quality of life."
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said cruel and illegal puppy factories would not stand a chance against the newly-formed RSPCA NSW Breeder Compliance Unit.
"Puppy factories are abhorrent and are in clear breach of this State's animal protection laws," he said.
"With demand for pets skyrocketing during the COVID-19 period and reports of puppy factories on the rise, it's critical government throws additional resources at this growing and deeply concerning problem."
The specialised arm of the RSPCA's Inspectorate will consist of four new RSPCA inspectors for a total of six staff dedicated to investigating inadequate conditions and standards at intensive dog breeding facilities across NSW.
"They'll also work hand in glove with NSW Police and intelligence officers, who will be monitoring online and social media platforms to help root out these grubs who are profiting from the mistreatment of animals," Mr Marshall said.
"My message today is clear - to the cowboy breeders doing the wrong thing, this is your last warning, comply with the law or pack up and move on - you will be caught and have the full force of the law thrown at you."
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Under current rules, any breeder found to be doing the wrong thing can have their animals seized, face fines up to $22,000 and jail time of up to two years per offence.
RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said they would help ensure the Breeder Compliance Unit was even better equipped to monitor the status of animal welfare by proactively working with breeders.
"This is a huge win for animal welfare, as well as for breeders across the state who love and look after their animals," he said.
"Every day we face the dark side of the animal breeding industry, where profits are put above an animal's welfare."